THOUSANDS of revellers of all ages and sexualities turned out for the biggest event on the Kirklees gay calendar.
A field below Castle Hill became a sea of feather boas for the 21st annual Pink Picnic which celebrates Kirklees’ lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Huddersfield police constable and Mr Gay UK 2006 Mark Carter officially opened the event, which rivals Manchester’s Gay Pride festival.
Crowds were wowed by live acts including Out of the Gray, Soraya Vivian, Claire Chanel, Ada James, Jess Gardham and Secrets Out, as well as the glamorous Pride Sisters.
DJs from The Union and Bar Nefertiti entertained the crowds with a mix of gay anthems and dance tracks and wannabe singers tested their vocal cords in the Pink Picnic karaoke competition.
Adding to the entertainment, there was a wide variety of market, information stalls and a penalty shoot out by Kirklees Ladies’ FC.
For the first time the event was run by a new committee made up of a cross-section of people across Kirklees’ gay community.
Partygoers also enjoyed the first ever Fringe Festival on Friday and Saturday with barbecues and entertainment at the Union and The Lawrence Batley Theatre.
Teresa Millward, chair of the Pink Picnic said: “It’s definitely become one of the biggest events of its kind in the area – it comes a close second to Manchester Pride.
“The great thing about it is that it’s inclusive and open to everyone, including friends and family of the LGB community.”
Pink Picnic safety officer Craig Hendry said: “There’s people here from Liverpool to Hull, even some from London.
Deputy Chief Constable Julia Hodson said: “It’s fantastic to be here to celebrate gay pride. I definitely won’t be having a go at the karaoke in the interest of public safety!”
Pink Picnic veteran Tony Jagger, from Netherton, said: “I’ve been 15 times. Normally I’d go somewhere other than Huddersfield but I’ll make an exception for the Pink Picnic. It’s good to support your local community and it’s a lot cheaper than Manchester Gay Pride.”
The event was sponsored by Safer Communities Partnership, Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire Service, the Brunswick Centre and new Huddersfield business Pretty Pink Pearl Ltd.
All the money raised this year will help towards future Pink Picnics, as well as the Brunswick Centre and other gay groups.